Today Youghal Sailing Club presented a new proposal and began a new campaign to develop a new public slipway in Youghal.
In a presentation to east Cork Municipal Council, Youghal Sailing Club made it clear that all kinds of water borne sports and tourism interests AND the emergency services are supporting their plan for the Council to create a New Slipway in Youghal. Patrick Buttimer (Commodore), Martin Finn and Finbarr Buckley presented a costed proposal and detailed plan (see below) showing that the new public slipway would be perfectly sited on Council owned waste lands besides Youghal Shipping on the start of the Slob Bank.
The proposal was warmly received by the Council members, and was given their 'unanimous approval'. This is excellent news and reflects the general support of everyone that has viewed the proposal so far.
We hope to hold a public meeting soon to share the proposal widely. And to enter into discussions with Council Officers to uncover the next stages to take this proposal forward.
Why do we need great Access via Slipways?
Youghal is a port, and has always been a home for boats. 30 years ago every family had a boat, though it was many used for fishing rather than leisure boating. Today leisure boating, sailing or motor boating, canoeing etc is massively popular and draws in lots of tourism revenues. In fact the revenues generated from maritime tourism are bigger than golf tourism! We are a tourist town, we rely upon tourists and need to attract more tourists to the town.
Sailing and Boating are life skills, just like driving. Everyone would be better skilled, and would have a great deal of fun to learn to sail or handle a boat with confidence and safety. In inland areas families and kids travel for miles to sail in ugly old quarries or crowded rivers. We have the glories of the river Blackwater and the Sea on our doorstep and we have qualified trainers too who can teach kids, and adults, how to safely enjoy themselves.
Beyond safety training we have to help the RNLI and Coast Guard and other rescue services to do their work to keep all water users safe. The best slipways for them are wide and easily accessible and well connected to major roads.
What's wrong with the existing Slipways in Youghal?
30 years ago there were at least 5 Public Slipways in Youghal, today there is only 1 that can be used to launch a a dinghy - at Nealons Quay. But Nealons Quay is also the site of the major car park in Youghal, the old quaysides have been turned into car parking, coach parking and event space. This is great for the town but it means that the slipway simple cannot be used at all if the town centre is busy, or if their is an event happening. Even if you can get to the slipway there is nowhere to leave your boat trailer, or stow any clothes or get changed. Therefore on sunny days, or Event weekends you can't launch or retrieve a boat in Youghal - and yet this is exactly when you'd like to welcome more visitors to come and sail and enjoy themselves here.
We need a new slipway that's close to the town centre but not caught up in the one way system, and somewhere that has space to park and leave a trailer while sailing.
Do any other groups agree that we need a New Slipway?
Yes, Yes and Yes. We haven't met with any group so far that have said anything other than that. Among the boating community it taken a fact. But we have consulted more widely andwe've spoken with the Emergency Services, the Harbour Master, The Chamber of Tourism and Development, Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group and our local Councillors and they all agree that a New Slipway would be a major asset to the town, that it would be a great facility for Youngsters in the region and would boost our tourist visitor numbers.
Do Cork County Council Agree with a New Slipway in Youghal?
Yes. In 2010 Cork County Council published its own Maritime Leisure Infrastructure Strategy for this decade. In their own report Cork County Council highlighted 3 items infrastructure that are need in Youghal and should be built with 'High Priority' - including a new Slipway and Trailer park - exactly like the one we have proposed. This is part of Cork County Council's own strategy that we would like them to build.
It's a good question. Why should a New Public Slipway be built now?
The answer is simple. To save money and to create most benefit.
A new slipway would be useful immediately. And almost immediately it would start to get boaters travelling to Youghal, to explore the river the sea here and explore the town too. And we'd be publicising the slipway and inviting groups and individuals to come and sail here. The quicker its available the quicker we can draw people here to spent time and money.
But there are cost savings too be had by building this new slipway as soon as possible. You see building on the waterside, particularly in an conservation area and area of outstanding beauty (like Youghal) is not easy. There are specific planning consents required and these take a lot of research and effort. Right now the County Council are in the fortunate position of having up to date versions of those reports available to them, as they were required to apply for permission to build the water treatment pipes. The council can save a lot of money by using the same up to date information for the New Slipway plan too.
At least one new slipway will have to be built in Youghal in the next few years. We contend that the Council will save money and bring more benefit to the area by acting now.
Leisure boating is a popular pastime. Any visitor to Cork Harbour cannot fail to notice the amount of sailors and craft that are drawn to the area, they generate a lot of fun, outdoor excitement and also tourism revenues. Leisure boating is good for our citizens and our economy. We want to grow the leisure boating potential of this area; for as big as we might think it is, its dwarfed by nearby areas on the east coast of Ireland, and readily accessible areas of the UK and France.
In the East Cork area there are only two places where you can enjoy safe inshore sailing and access to the open sea, these are Cork Harbour and Youghal. Youghal also offers direct access to almost 15 miles of navigable river sailing along the spectacular Blackwater and Bride rivers. This is a largely undiscovered area for leisure boaters with huge potential.
By building a new slipway in Youghal, with its attendant car and trailer parking, we are beginning our journey to develop the boating opportunities of this whole region for the benefit of the whole region.
We have suggested a detailed plan to East Cork Municipal Council which is our representative part of Cork County Council. We have taken a suggested site from an earlier plan by Aquatrek as it seems to meet every need excellently.
Its a site that is owned by the County Council, yet its waste land which currently has little value and no defined use. Its large enough and yet has lots of room to grow and develop. This site would be perfect to support long term aspirations to develop more marine facilities and a marina.
Its close to the town centre, just seconds away even on foot, and yet its not in the centre and the slipway will not interfere with activities and crowds in the town. Crucially the site is accessible from the N25 without coming through the town, which is great news for boat owners and tourists, but brilliant news too for our emergency services - at last they could speedily recover, treat and/or evacuate anyone that needed to be recovered from the water.
Its right next door to Youghal Shipping, but doesn't interfere with shipping and it even opens up new opportunities for commerce associated with boat storage, chandlery and boat servicing.